Concert: Water Music
An open-air evening of food, friends and festive music overlooking the Cedar River in historic downtown Waterloo.
Jerome Margolis – Rivers Run Free (world premiere)
George Frideric Handel – Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks
Tickets are no longer for sale online but will be available at the door from 6pm until the performance begins at 7:30pm.
We hope you enjoy our personal approach to program notes: insights from Jason into how and why pieces were selected, followed by notes and quotes from composers and artists about their work.
Introduction from Jason: This fall we are thrilled to be back at the RiverLoop Amphitheatre with another river-themed program. Where last season’s opening night concert highlighted American river music, this evening’s program reimagines a famous river performance which took place before our country even existed: the 1717 presentation of Handel’s Water Music as accompaniment to King George I’s summer excursion on the Thames in London.
Tonight’s concert is not without its contemporary element, as we return with a brand new work for the second year in a row. (In fact, we plan to continue this aspect of our RiverLoop concerts in the future, in the process creating a whole series of new works inspired by the Cedar River and American rivers in general.) I couldn’t be more excited to premiere Rivers Run Free by Jerome Margolis, a musician who had a huge influence on my own musical life and encouraged my early interest in conducting.
London’s Daily Courant on Water Music, July 1717: On Wednesday Evening, at about 8, the King took Water at Whitehall in an open Barge, wherein were also the Dutchess of Bolton, the Dutchess of Newcastle, the Countess of Godolphin, Madam Kilmanseck [sic], and the Earl of Orkney. And went up the River towards Chelsea. Many other Barges with Persons of Quality attended, and so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner was cover’d; a City Company’s Barge was employ’d for the Musick, wherein were 50 Instruments of all sorts, who play’d all the Way from Lambeth (while the Barges drove with the Tide without Rowing, as far as Chelsea) the finest Symphonies, compos’d express for this Occasion, by Mr. Hendel; which his Majesty liked so well, that he caus’d it to be plaid over three times in going and returning. At Eleven his Majesty went a-shore at Chelsea, where a Supper was prepar’d, and then there was another very fine Consort of Musick, which lasted till 2; after which, his Majesty came again into his Barge, and return’d the same Way, the Musick continuing to play till he landed.
Friedrich Bonet on Water Music, 1717: Next to the King’s barge was that of the musicians, about fifty in number, who played on all kinds of instruments, to wit trumpets, horns, hautboys [i.e., oboes], bassoons, German flutes [i.e., transverse flutes], French flutes [i.e., recorders], violins and basses; but there were no singers.
Horace Walpole on Royal Fireworks,1749: For a week before the town was like a country fair, the streets filled from morning to night, scaffolds building wherever you could or could not see, and coaches arriving from every corner of the kingdom. The merry and lively scene, with the sight of the immense crowd in the park and on every house, the guards, and the machine itself, which was very beautiful, was all that was worth seeing. The rockets, and what- ever was thrown up into the air, succeeded mighty well; but the wheels, and all that was to compose the principal part, were pitiful and ill-conducted, with no changes of coloured fires and shapes ; the illumination was mean and lighted so slowly that scarce anybody had patience to wait the finishing.
The Gentleman’s Magazine on Royal Fireworks, July 1749: The structure in St. James's Upper Park, or Green Park, begun on November 7th, was only completed on the last day. His Majesty George II. and the Duke of Cumberland attended by the Dukes of Montague, Richmond, and Bedford, and several others of the nobility, were at the library to see the fireworks. Soon after six the band played, and at half-past eight 101 cannon placed on Constitution Hill were discharged, and the grand display of fireworks commenced, but within the hour a portion of the structure had been burned to the ground, and the remainder was only saved by the workmen and carpenters cutting away the burning spars. His Majesty distributed presents to those most diligent in stopping the flames. By eleven o'clock the whole pavilion was illuminated, and continued so until two or three o'clock in the morning. The display was a very magnificent spectacle, and a general girandole of 6000 half-pound rockets, headed with serpents' rains, and stars surpassed all imagination in the beauty and greatness of its appearance. The Royal Family retired at twelve. The festivities did not pass without several accidents to those letting off the rockets, and one young lady had her clothes set on fire, but owing to prompt assistance escaped with only having her face, neck, and breast a little scorched, and one arrest is chronicled, for the designer of the building, whilst it was in flames, drew his sword and affronted the Controller of the Ordnance and Fireworks; he was quickly disarmed and taken into custody, but discharged the next day on asking pardon of the Duke of Cumberland.
Jerome Margolis on Rivers Run Free: Traveling down and along rivers including the Nile, Amazon, Yangtzee, Thames, Rhine, Delaware, Skykill, Mississippi, white water in Alaska and countless tributaries across America one senses their power, their infinite variety, their natural force and their freedom. We channel them and dam them, we draw life from them, and we are sustained by them.
I am so proud to have received a commission for an orchestral composition honoring the beautiful Cedar River flowing three-hundred miles through the breadth of Iowa's heartland. A great city founded upon a great river and blessed with a superb orchestra inspires a composer to be sure.
Having my music performed here in this place under the baton of Maestro Weinberger is far more than a singular honor for me. More than two decades have passed since Jason, then a student of mine at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, undertook a conducting tutorial. Our chosen project was Haydn's Symphony 104, also known as the ‘London’. Needless to say Maestro Weinberger, all of seventeen at the time, brought the same amazing natural talent and dedication to conducting as had made him the most accomplished and experienced clarinetist among his peers.
I am thrilled to be here with you for this performance of Rivers Run Free in Waterloo - the very place where this music took flight and to hear it performed by these wonderful musicians under the direction of your amazing maestro Jason Weinberger.
Jerome N. Margolis was born in Philadelphia in 1941. He studied piano with Arthur Hice at The Settlement School followed by advanced study at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, where he majored in composition with Vincent Persichetti and piano with Dorthea Persichetti. He also studied conducting with Jani Zsanto, Maurice Kaplow and Mehli Mehta.
After graduating Margolis became an instructor of composition at Settlement School while also serving as a music specialist for both the Philadelphia and Trenton Public Schools. In 1966 he was appointed Music Director of Performing Arts at Bennett College (1966-70) and, during the same period, directed musical theater in several venues and served as accompanist for numerous New York Dance companies and Broadway musicals.
Subsequently Margolis has had a diverse career as a composer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator and keyboardist. Early in his career he directed the ‘house band’ at Philadelphia’s RDA Club accompanying artist from Streisand to Sinatra, worked as a composer-arranger for Philadelphia’s WCAU television station, and performed throughout the city with his jazz quartet. Dr. Margolis has composed more than 100 major works including a symphony, several orchestral suites, a large selection of chamber music, theater scores, ballets, music for theater, jazz , and electronic-media works.
Margolis served as the Music Director at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles 1970-2006. His students have included Jake and Maggie Gylenhaall, John Lovitz, Jason Siegel, Dennis Keene, Andrea Marcovicci, Gates McFadden, Anthony Wilson (Diana Kral), Jason Weinberger, and numerous Hollywood studio musicians, composers and arrangers.
Dr. Margolis retired from Harvard-Westlake in 2006 whereupon he and his wife Ann relocated to Boones Mill, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. He continues to pursue an active composing and performing career. Jerry and Ann have a five year-old Wheaten terrier and four granddaughters.